Last night I watched a television show where there seemed to be more commercials than content. After watching ten or so commericials I started using the mute button. As I did this I felt annoyed. In order to turn the sound back on at the right moment, I had to watch the commericials. So, to get the content I wanted, and engage with the content, I had to engage in another activity that I did not not want to be doing.
As I look out the window at the abundant garden, the grass, the trees, the birds, I am only doing one thing. I am looking. It is an organic experience in the sense that my attention is not being distracted from what I am doing. In many of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s books, he stops the narrative and asks the reader to look. When he was out with people he would stop conversations in order to force people to look at something, most often a tree or a flower.
As a society we are beginning to think about organic food, but this concept has not yet crossed over to other areas of life. One never talks about organic thought or organic feeling. We understand that our food is being modified, but take for granted (and for the most part accept) that every other aspect of our life is being modified as well. The common phrase we use when we look at our surroundings is, “this is reality.” But to do so is dangerous.
Reality is a shifting state between the real and the unreal. I currently live in another person’s house and this is “a reality” but it’s not my reality. Living here is not an organic experience for me. Other than the clothes in the closet, nothing in this house was chosen by me or has any meaning for me. I am a minimalist and my housemate is a hoarder. Every inch of available space is cluttered with something. My survival strategy in this “reality” is to spend most of my day sitting in front of a large window so I can turn my back on her stuff.
I have begun to notice that this survival strategy is starting to affect my choices. When I go out with real estate agents now, I stress the fact that I am looking for a spectacular view. But, honestly, if I was in my own place, surrounded by what was visually pleasing to me, I don’t know how important a view would be. In my last home, I had a great view but rarely paid any attention to it.
In my new home, I think I want vaulted ceilings because my last home had this feature and I liked it. But now that I am no longer living in a bright, warm, sunny climate, this might not be a wise choice. Vaulted ceilings in a grey, cold, rainy climate would mean high heat bills.
Choosing a new place to live is more difficult than I initially thought it would be. Why do I like certain things? Is what I like organic or is it mediated? Is it spontaneous, freely chosen, or is it to get away from something I don’t like. How important is “a place” to me? Is it just a locked enclosure to store stuff or is it an integral part of my organic experience?
When I pare away what is not me, I initially feel a sense of nothingness. But perhaps this nothingness is bare ground waiting to be cultivated. I am choosing now from a different reality, one that is more fluid and transparent. There are no shoulds or have-to’s, no one telling me what to do or what not to do. This is the organic human experience, the freedom we all say we want. I am finding it quite daunting, more challenging than anything I have ever done. To build myself from nothing, knowing full well that all will soon pass away, takes a certain kind of tenacity and resolve that I am unfamiliar with. Rather than viewing myself as a secret, frightened, furtive, little science project, I am breaking out of “otherness” and entering “all-ness” – a drop of water merging with the everpresent life-giving moisture around me.
That which does not feel “organically me” darkens my mood and lowers my energy. As the sensations of me and “not me” become more clearly delineated and sharply felt, I can more quickly recognize what does not resonate.
This sensation is not something to be remembered and cataloged. I am not preferring blue over green and then deciding that blue is my favorite color. This is a different way of looking, seeing and being that will change with the phases of the moon, the brightness of the day. If I’m tired I sleep, if I am exercising and something hurts, I stop. I rarely argue. If a person does something different from how I do it, I don’t impose “my way.”
A few days ago, I brought one of my knifes into the kitchen and my housemate decided it needed to be sharpened. I told her I didn’t want it sharpened and she ignored me. At first I got angry, but later realized the knife wasn’t the problem, it was my ownership of the knife. The way I interpreted my flash of anger suddenly became more nuanced and significant.
This may seem like a little thing, but in the context of my small life, closely examined, it momentarily became everything. And when it became everything, I found myself surprised and delighted. I learned something about me, from me.